America is keen to strengthen ties with Bhutan but there is no plan to establish diplomatic relationship with the Himalayan nation, a senior US official has said after the first-ever meeting between America’s top diplomat and Bhutan’s Prime Minister.
Bhutan does not have diplomatic relations with any of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, including the US and China.
The two countries maintain warm, informal relations via the US Embassy in New Delhi and Bhutan’s Mission to the UN in New York.
The first-ever meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay took place on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Ahmedabad last week.
“Establishing diplomatic relationship was not a subject of the conversation,” the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told when asked about the meeting.
Following the fruitful meeting, the US is ready to build on the relationship with Bhutan, she said.
“Bhutan as a country has had a remarkable transition to democracy and one whose path we had followed with admiration,” Biswal said.
“And so the Secretary’s desire in meeting with the Prime Minister was simply to offer support and we stand ready to continue to build on this relationship with a country that we commend for its path to democracy,” Biswal said.
“When we found out that the Prime Minister is going to be at Vibrant Gujarat, we thought it would be a good opportunity to be able to have a bilateral meeting. We wanted to take advantage of the opportunity,” she said.
“It is not often, frankly, that the Secretary is in the same place and the same time as the Prime Minister of Bhutan. So that was really the genesis of the meeting,” Biswal said.